The Truth As I Know It And What I Don’t Know

I don’t like to write angry posts but in this case I have decided to go for it.  After all this is my blog and I can write whatever I want.

In an earlier post I wrote about my search for the parents of my second great-grandmother.  All of the evidence points to Robert Clinton Webb and Mary E. “Polly” Sorelle.  The name Sorelle is spelled many different ways.  I have no idea what the correct spelling is in this case so I will go with Sorelle.  I am willing to change that as it is not set in stone.

There were two goals in writing that post.  One was an attempt to connect with someone else researching this family.  The other was to share what I had found.  This is a very difficult family to find information on.  Anyone who has experienced a brick wall will understand the need to share in order to gain more details.

To my surprise someone did contact me.  He was trying to find his ancestors who were also Webbs.  He told me what he believed to be true and I send him what I had with dates and where I got the information.  That was the last time I have heard from him.

Not long after the e-mail exchange I saw him on Ancestry.com.  He had cherry picked the bits of my information that supported his narrative and disregarded the facts that didn’t if not proved he was dead wrong.

Robert Clinton Webb is the son of Robert G. Webb and Emelia “Milly” Clinton.  He had thirteen siblings and three half siblings.  One brother was Clinton Toliver Webb who had a son named Robert (abt 1807 – abt 1868).  Like most families of that time the Webb family had a handful of names that were used over and over for generations.  This Robert is probably my e-mail friend’s ancestor.

Robert Clinton Webb married Mary E. “Polly” Sorelle on 10 Feb 1812 in Greene County, Georgia.  This is proven by Georgia marriage records.

            Georgia: Greene County: Marriages by Groom 1800-1850

            Georgia: Greene County: Marriages by Bride 1800-1850

            Georgia Marriages 1808-1967

I have found no evidence of either ones date of birth.  It is commonly believed on Ancestry that Mary was born in 1801.  That would make her ten years old when she married and thirteen when her first child was born.  My e-mail friend is going by those dates.  Robert (1807-1868) would have married at five.  He has also chosen to disregard their first three or four children.  He has their marriage date as 21 Aug 1824.  This is a date that he picked up on Ancestry and has no documentation to back it up. 

Mary is the daughter of John William Sorelle.  Many researchers who have been doing this since I was in grade school have determined that Robert’s brother, Elisha, married Mary’s sister, Matilda.  It is documented in John Sorelle’s will that Matilda did married Elisha Webb and Mary married Robert Webb.  It did not state that Elisha and Robert were brothers.  One website has Robert married to another sister, Nancy Sorelle.  Nancy was married to Daniel Browning. This has been proven by the will and Georgia marriage records.  Robert, the nephew (1807-1868) married Mary Burney.  The name Mary is proven by census reports but the Burney is hearsay.

By 2 Apr 1828 Robert and Mary were in Alabama.  On 7 Sep 1840 Robert was mentioned in the 1839-1840 Union Parish, Louisiana Police Jury Minutes along with his son, Elisha and John Johnson Butler.  John Butler is my second great-grandfather and I believe Robert Clinton Webb’s son-in-law.  I have not added Robert and Mary on my tree because I can NOT prove they are my third great-grandparents.  E-mail man has him in Union Parish in 1843.  During the 1840’s Robert was mentioned several times on the Police Jury minutes and other legal documents.

The family of John Sorelle petitioned the court to sell his land in June 1842.  Mary was mentioned as the wife of Robert Webb living in Louisiana.  The last mention of Robert that I have been able to find is on 4 Jul 1848.  He purchased three slaves from George Haywood.  This can be found in Union Parish Conveyance Book C on page 100 and in the book Some Slaveholders and Their Slaves – Union Parish on page 67.  I have not been able to find his date of death.

Mary was found on the Claiborne Parish census on 8 Oct 1850.  She was living with her youngest son Robert Clinton Webb, Jr. and near her oldest son Elisha.  John Johnson Butler and his family also lived nearby.   As a reference note for those of you who are not familiar with Union Parish, Union and Claiborne Parish are next to each other. In fact, Weldon Baptist Church is in Claiborne Parish and their cemetery is in Union Parish.  The probate of John Sorelle’s will was in 1850 and Mary was mentioned as living in Louisiana.   Mary died on 7 May 1853.  Her succession is in Claiborne Parish, Mary S. Webb Index Vol A 1851-1855 Succession 223 Probate # 1262.  Robert was not mentioned in any of this. 

E-mail man has them living in Roswell, Cobb County, Georgia in 1850 with the census report to prove it.  The 1860 census has them living in Milton County, Georgia.  In 1864 Robert was in the Georgia Militia.  Keep in mind, by this time Robert had to be at least 74 years old by my date of birth.  He also has Robert dying in Union Parish in 1868.  He does not provide documentation on his death.

As for the children, he chose to start with Robert and Mary’s fourth child, Matilda, who was born about 1821, three years before he has her parents marrying.  He is using the dates of Matilda E. Webb Clamonds, even though it has been proven she is not Matilda E. Webb Clemonds., who is the daughter of Robert and Mary.  After listing the children of Robert and Mary he added on the children of Robert (1807-1868) and his Mary.  That gives them a son named Robert Clinton Webb, Jr., Clinton M. and Robert Webb, Jr.

At this point I have to point out that starting with my Robert Clinton, every one of them has a son named Robert Clinton.  I know for sure there is a Robert Clinton Webb V.  It also looks as though when the father dies the son begins to go by Robert Clinton Webb, Sr. and his son becomes Jr.  To keep them straight you have to follow the dates very close.

I realize my rant may come off as petty.  I know I may be too hard on e-mail man.  At the same time I am very frustrated.  I have spent many, many hours researching this family.  Many of the descendants of John Johnson Butler and Sarah Rebecca Webb have spent just as much time on this family.  We want to know the truth.  We want to know who our ancestors are.  Then here comes e-mail man.  He puts all this on Ancestry and everyone and their brothers are copying it.  They are not paying attention to dates or asking for documentation.  There is now so much misinformation out there we may never find the truth.

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